Title: Extinction Review
Available On: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Developer: Iron Galaxy
Publisher: Maximum Games
Genre: Epic Action Adventure
Official Site: Extinction.com
Release Date: April 10, 2018
Where To Buy: Steam, local retailer, Xbox Live, PSN Store
A game that has been touted as God of War meets Shadow of the Colossus certainly has a lot to live up to. Yet despite having a similar concept to Colossus and combat comparable to God of War, Extinction fails to capture any of the characteristics that made both of those titles amazing.
As Avil, one of the world’s last Sentinels, players are tasked with defending humanity from the colossal threats know as the Ravenii. These larger than life Ogres are certainly impressive in scope. Similar to seeing your first Colossus in Shadow of the Colossus, the first time the Ravenii appear is truly a sight to behold. Nothing stands in their way as they burst through towns, towers, gates, and the citizens they hold with great ease. The only way to defeat the towering monsters is to climb them and cut off their head. It doesn’t take long before killing them is too easy though, as the lack of variety in Extinction begins to rear its ugly head not even an hour into the game.
Combat feels fluid at first, as Avil is able to dart around with his sword and grappling hook with ease. Once you’ve played around few a few minutes you’ve basically learned all there is to know though. Outside of a few combos, fighting the Jackals (Ravenii minions) simply comes down to button mashing. Though new ones are introduced, from enemies that can spit harmful venom to ones that can fly, they all generally look and act the same; some just take more hits. This wouldn’t be too big of a deal if the same thing didn’t apply to the big baddies.
Aside from different colors and facial features, each Ravenii is pretty much identical. The only thing that sets them apart is their armor. Some wear easily breakable wooden guards and helmets, whereas others sport frustratingly annoying spike and bone. Where the former is simply a matter of a set number of hits and locations, the latter involves a tedious game of baiting the monster, which wasn’t even guaranteed to work most of the time. These flaws would be a lot more manageable if there were at least some variation as to how to take down the beasts though.
As I stated earlier, the only way to take down the Ravenii is by chopping off their head. This means the only way to kill them is to get rid of any helmets or neck armor in order to land the kill strike. But before that is even possible a meter must be filled in order to execute the strike. This is done a few different ways: kill minions, save citizens, or chop off Ravenii limbs. Of the three options, I tended to just chop off the limbs of the Ravenii since they ended up regrowing (for some reason). More would just teleport in and begin destroying the other part of town until the objective was complete. This point leads me to the issues I had with Extinction’s story.
The end of humanity at the hands of giant monsters is nothing new in entertainment; Godzilla, Pacific Rim, and Attack on Titan all deal with this idea. So it isn’t entirely surprising that the story ends up a bit cookie cutter. Extinction doesn’t have any characters to help give the worn out, trope-ridden plot any charm though. At first, my audio didn’t work. I was bummed I had to read the character dialogue that popped up on my own. No big deal. Once it did actually start working I wanted it to go away pretty quickly though.
When Extinction wasn’t providing exposition via talking heads dialogue, its characters would be nagging Avil at any given moment. Whether it was structural damage, a citizen’s death, or even Avil’s own demise, the emperor and or Avil’s partner would chastise him for not trying hard enough. While it was likely meant to act as a warning that the mission was close to failure, there were plenty of other indicators (like the extinction meter) to notify you of the same thing.
The choice to break Extinction down into chapters really muddied the stories pace as well. Instead of a fluid story, each mission simply felt like an isolated event. The majority of the game’s objectives revolved around a tower defense restricted area. Stray away from a specific area, even to fight a Ravennii, and you’ll likely fail. It felt like a mistake to make the towns and their citizens the focus of the game instead of combat.
Like the Jackal, Ravenii, and combat, these areas are repetitive and bland as well. Each town looks like the last, with the exception of certain cliffside placements. Again, the settings lacked any distinct personality.
Verdict: Extinction is a brilliant concept. There are few things more satisfying than reenacting the David versus Goliath story in video game format. Unfortunately, the game lacks any depth. Its settings, plot, characters, and gameplay become stale within the first hour of a 12-hour campaign.
- Ravenii scale
- Combat fluidity
- Lack of depth
- Tower defense like area restrictions
- Ravenii design
- Narrative flow and story